On February 8 1587, at 2am on the morning of her execution, Mary, Queen of Scotland, wrote to her former brother-in-law
She had, she confessed, “thrown myself into the power of the Queen my cousin, at whose hands I have suffered for almost 20 years.”
The former infant queen was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle for complying in a plot to murder Elizabeth I. “I am to be executed like a criminal at eight in the morning,” she told Henry III, the King of France.
She signed it “your most loving and true sister, Mary R”.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh are now working with the National Library of Scotland to see if the doomed letter can live forever by converting the text into short, DNA-style molecular sequences.
The team say such a system would be capable of storing the entire Harry Potter book series 20 trillion times within a single gram of DNA.
- Read the full text of the letter online.
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